Thursday, October 30, 2014

Samhain 2014

It's Samhain (SAH-wen) time again (actually, it's tomorrow, but I'll be at work, so I'm posting a day early). This is the old Celtic New Year, celebrating the last of the harvest and settling in for the "death" of the Earth in Winter, waiting for life to return in the Spring. It was a time when it was believed that the veil between this life and the afterlife was thin, and the dead could cross over and speak to the living. So it's a time for remembering those who have passed on, memorializing the ancestors and the recently departed. It's a somber time yet it's also a joyous time, celebrating the lives of our loved ones. It was appropriated and "Christianized" by the Church in the early days, turned into a holiday to celebrate the lives of the saints; it was called All Saints Day, or All Hallows Day, and the night before was called All Hallows Eve, which is now called Halloween. You can read my full essay on this here.

My favorite image for Samhain is a gravestone with Fall foliage. I decided to take a new one this year.
Samhain is also about the last harvest and getting ready for the onset of Winter. Mr. Squirrel knows all about that!
And of course Samhain happens at a time when Mama Gaia is at her most colorful, so we celebrate the holiday with the appropriate colors.
I missed it last year, so this year I've decided to go back to celebrating Samhain with two favorite videos appropriate to the holiday. First is the gorgeous PBS special animation of Camille Saint-Saëns' "Danse Macabre".

The other video is Loreena McKennett's "All Souls Night", a favorite of mine for years now, and I don't know what I was thinking not to post it last year. Here it is again.

A Blessed Samhain and a Happy Halloween to all!

© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Another Rainy Day Off

Two days off, and it's raining on the first one. I had no choice but to be out in it ; I've been having some health issues lately, and had a doctor's appointment and prescriptions to get at the pharmacy. So I took advantage of having to be out and got some shots of Fall foliage in the rain while I was out and about. Heh, heh! Those trees always look so much brighter on a gloomy day.

Walnut St. scene
Looking east down Neff Ave.
Richwalter St. at the end of Neff Ave.
Episcopal Square, N. Prince St.
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Autumnal Touches

A single day off today, so as usual I walked through the Dykeman Spring Nature Park on the way to the grocery store. There's still a lot of green here, but the colors are turning more and more each day. Unfortunately the turn is coinciding with windy days and a lot of that Fall color has blown off the trees and drifted to the ground. Ah, well, at least there's some color. 

© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Havre de Grace - Piers

While walking the waterfront on my visit to Havre de Grace I noticed the piers jutting out into the bay. Having lived in Newport, RI for 36 years, and having been gone from there for 4 years now, I really got homesick looking at all that wide salt water and the wooden piers. I had to get some shots. And I realized that the best format for that would be black and white. So here are three shots of piers in the Chesapeake Bay at Havre de Grace, shot in b&w and making me miss Newport. Enjoy!

© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Havre de Grace - The Concord Point Lighthouse

The Concord Point Lighthouse anchors the northern end of the Havre de Grace Promenade. Built in 1827, it's one of the oldest lighthouses on the East Coast of the US in continuous use, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It's a beautiful sight, and sits on one of the most gorgeous waterfront sites in Havre de Grace. Here are some shots I took of the place. Enjoy!

The entrance to Concord Point
A view of the lighthouse
Another view of the lighthouse
The keeper's house
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Havre de Grace - The Promenade

And interesting feature in Havre de Grace is the Promenade, a wooden boardwalk that travels a half mile along the waterfront. Along the way are a wetland bay cove, great views of the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay, and a great old stone hotel that was a prime meeting (and drinking) place during the Prohibition era. I'd walked it years ago and couldn't wait to visit again. There's a Decoy Museum (decoys being hand-carved wooden replicas made to resemble ducks and other waterfowl to lure them within the reach of hunters' guns) along the way as well, as the Chesapeake Bay area is recognized as the home of some of the best carvers in the world. I went in, but I didn't take any pictures, going on the assumption that museums really don't like you taking pictures of their exhibits; click on the link above to visit their website.

In any event, here are the best of the shots I took along the Havre de Grace Promenade. Enjoy!

A view of a section of the Promenade
A view from the Promenade
The old Bayou Hotel
The gazebo at the Tydings Park end of the Promenade
Another scenic view from the Promenade
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Havre de Grace - The Vandiver Inn

I traveled with family down to Havre de Grace, MD earlier this week for my niece's wedding there. Havre de Grace is an old Maryland town with a long history, and is situated at the point where the Susquehanna River empties into (or becomes, really) the Chesapeake Bay. It has a rich history and an incomparable beauty, and it offered much to be explored with the camera.

The weeding was held, and most of the wedding party and guests stayed, at the Vandiver Inn on Union St. This was a gorgeous place and a great venue for the wedding and reception. It consists of the Vandiver Mansion and two adjacent guest houses, Kent and Murphy. My mother and I both had rooms in Murphy House.

I didn't take pictures of the wedding and reception; they had an official wedding photographer and a videographer, plus the place was crawling with people with cell phone cameras, so that aspect of the festivities was more than covered, and as far as this blog goes it really wasn't of any interest to anyone but my family. But I did get some shots of the inn so you can see how gorgeous that place is. Enjoy!

Vandiver Mansion, the main house of the Vandiver Inn
Murphy House, the guest house where my mother and I had rooms
The arbor entrance to the wedding area between Kent and Murphy Houses
The wedding gazebo area before they set it up for the wedding
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It's Raining, It's Pouring

Oh well, so much for going out walking today. The two photos below show what was going on around 7:30 this morning; it's still doing it at almost 4:00 pm. Well, we were a bit on the dry and crunchy side, so a day of rain is definitely something we could use.

© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Scenes Here and There

I've been on vacation since Saturday, but unfortunately I've been dealing with some lower back pain that has limited my usual walking around. But I have managed to get some shots, both out the kitchen window and around town on some of my brief forays. The situation is getting better and I may actually get out, at least to the nature park, for a longer period tomorrow. And then Thursday I'm going down to Havre de Grace, Maryland, for my niece's wedding on Friday, and there are some things there I'd love to get on the camera - a waterfront nature walk along where the Susquehanna River meets the Chesapeake Bay, and a lighthouse. So there should be more coming. For the time being here are the four shots that passed quality control.

A male Cardinal at the flat feeder on my feeder station
Same bird, different pose. I think this is one of the brood born this past Spring
Shippensburg continues to develop some seasonal color
Seasonal decoration on a porch on King St.
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Tuesday, October 07, 2014


These shots were taken during several walks around town yesterday and today. I took a lot of shots, but these four are the only ones that pleased me. Enjoy!

Autumnal decoration at the front door of McLean House on King St.
Virginia Creeper adorns a boulder along the Dykeman Walking Trail
A backyard barn on Locust St., just up the street and around the corner from me
The big Maple across the street in the gazebo park is starting to turn color
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

A Soft Day

Today has been what the Irish call a "soft day". A friend of mine back in Newport (unfortunately deceased these last 7 years) used to own property in Doolin on the West Coast of Ireland, and he liked to tell how you'd get a day when the temperature was moderate but the air was about as wet as it could get without actually raining, which meant that it was too wet for the farmers to do anything in the fields. Along about mid-morning they'd give up any pretense of work and head for the local pub; they couldn't go home because then they'd only be underfoot while the wife was trying to get some work done in he house. So it was off to the pub, and the farmers would fill their pints and sit back and sigh, "Ah! Soft day, soft day".

Well, it was that kind of day here in Shippensburg today, and I think I caught a sense of it as I walked through the Dykeman Spring Nature Park on the way to the grocery store. No pint of beer here, though, just a nice strong cup of coffee when I got home. But the sentiment was much the same as those old Irish farmers. Ah! Soft day!

Branch Creek along the Dykeman Walking Trail
Autumn color along the Dykeman Walking Trail
Looking east from the western end of the upland meadow
Looking west from the eastern end of the upland meadow
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger